7/7/2021 Gender Equality in the Arctic is an international collaborative project highlighting the importance of recognition and appreciation of diversity in terms of discourses, gender, indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, governance, education, economies, social realities, sustainability, and balanced participation in leadership and decision making, both in the public and private sectors. The Phase III Arctic Gender Equality Report includes the chapter, "Empowerment and Fate Control," for which Dr. Laura Zanotti is a contributing author, along with Co-PIs Courtney Carothers and Charlene Apok.

On May 20, 2021, the Arctic Gender Equality Report was acknowledged and included in the Reykjavík Declaration 2021 that emphasized "the importance of gender equality and respect for diversity for sustainable development in the Arctic...and called for further action to advance gender equality in the Arctic." Gender was also included in the new Strategic plan of the Arctic Council, marking an important milestone as equality is considered a prerequisite of sustainable development in a future Arctic.

6/25/2021  In this video for the series curated by Dr. Girish Daswani (Anthropology, University of Toronto), Purdue Anthropology faculty Dr. Dada Docot speaks about the carceral and inherited colonial logics surrounding government and public responses to the #CommunityPantryPH mutual aid movement in the Philippines. 

5/19/2021  Rachel Small (Majoring in Anthropology and Communication, Minoring in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies) was awarded first place prize at the Purdue Undergrad Research Conference in the category of Archival Presentations for her research talk, "White Feminist Icons: An Intersectional Case Study on Amelia Earhart"!

5/14/2021  Anthropology major Sarah Coon was nominated for the Beinecke Scholarship! The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 and seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Congratulations, Sarah!

5/11/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Riall Nolan, Professor Emeritus of Purdue Anthropology who received the Sol Tax Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes and honors long-term and exceptional service to the Society. You can read more about Dr. Nolan’s work here.

5/11/2021  Congratulations to Evelyn Blackwood, Professor Emeritus of Purdue Anthropology who received the Association of Queer Anthropology (AQA) Distinguished Achievement Award for the years 2020 and 2021. The Distinguished Achievement Award honors outstanding contributions to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer anthropology through scholarship, research, teaching, mentoring, service, public engagement, and/or activism. You can read more here.

5/3/2021  Brandi Wren, a research affiliate for the department of anthropology was studying social distancing and infections before social distancing became the new normal. Social grooming in the animal kingdom is common and serves several functions, from removing ectoparasites to maintaining social bonds between conspecifics. We examined whether time spent grooming with others in a highly social mammal species was associated with infection status for gastrointestinal parasites. Read more here.

4/15/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Johnson, who has been selected as a recipient of the Kenneth T. Kofmehl Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2020-21! This award is one of the top teaching awards in our College. Winners are nominated by departments and chosen by the Liberal Arts Educational Excellence Awards Committee and the Dean on the basis of student and faculty nominations, student ratings, teaching and scholarly excellence, and peer evaluation. We are so pleased that Dr. Johnson's talents and contributions to students are recognized, especially the positive and important impact of her teaching during these very difficult times. Congratulations, Dr. Johnson!

4/6/2021  Jenail Marshall has been selected by the African American Studies and Research Center at Purdue as a 2021 Remmers Award winner! The award was established in memory of Dr. H. H. Remmers, Head of the Division of Educational Reference and member of the Psychology Department and recognizes academic excellence and scholarly promise among social science and interdisciplinary studies graduate students. Congratulations, Jenail!

3/25/2021   Dr. Andrew Flachs has been selected as a College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher for 2020-2021!  The award is chosen from among nominations submitted by departments to the Liberal Arts Educational Excellence Awards Committee and the Dean on the basis of student and faculty nominations, student ratings, teaching and scholarly excellence, and peer evaluation. Congratulations, Dr. Flachs!

3/9/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Melissa Remis, who has received the Violet Haas Award by the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence! The Violet Haas Award recognizes individuals, programs, or departments at Purdue that have effectively facilitated the advancement of women in hiring, promotion, education, and salary, or have generally enhanced a positive professional climate for women at Purdue.

3/7/2021  The Sudanese American Medical Association sponsored an international webinar this month in which Professor Emerita Ellen Gruenbaum gave a talk, “Achieving Abandonment: Law and the process of change in Sudan and other countries” in a session with two Sudanese colleagues on the theme of “No Time for Global Inaction:  Unite, Fund, and Act to End Female Genital Mutilation.”

2/12/2021  Congratulations to grad student Jose Becerra whose project, "Trade-off’s Between the Logistics Economy and Community Health: Disproportionate Exposure to Air Pollution Among Marginalized Communities in the Inland Empire" has been selected for the 2021 Halperin Memorial Fund Award!

1/25/2021 Online science magazine Flip Science featured the case of rapid cremations in the Philippines during COVID-19 and its links with colonial sanitation regimes, drawing from interviews with Purdue cultural anthropologist Dada Docot and forensic anthropologist Matthew C. Go, following up on their recent editorial that appeared on Forensic Science International: Synergy.<

1/9/2021  In "Fire and fear: Rapid cremations in the Philippines amidst COVID-19" just released in Forensic Science International: Synergy, Dr. Dada Docot with co-author Dr. Matthew Go consider how recent regulations in the Philippines requiring expeditious cremations for COVID-19 victims is disruptive where burning the dead is largely taboo. Using forensic science and cultural anthropology, they consider culturally appropriate possibilities for honoring the dead.

1/7/2021  Grad student Kari A. Guilbault, who is studying bioarchaeology, has a photo collection, Sticks and Stones, in Unearthed, an online literary journal from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Guilbault uses photography to capture the interconnectedness between nature and humans

1/4/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti for winning National Science Foundation support for the project, “CNH2-L: Using Sound to Advance Conceptual Frameworks of Resilience of Integrated Grassland-Pastoralist Systems” where she serves as co-PI!  

1/4/2021  Dr. Jennifer Johnson has been selected to participate in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation leadership program! Read more here.

11/20/20  Andrew Flachs has just been awarded a Just Tech Covid-19 Rapid-Response grant from the Social Science Research Council for his project, "Technological Transitions in the US Local Food System in Response to Covid-19"! This project explores the digital infrastructures of risk, food access, and growing power built as the local food system transitions to online supply chains during the pandemic. See more here. Congratulations, Dr. Flachs!

11/2/2020  Congratulations to Samuel Bakeis on being awarded a Purdue Student Service-Learning Grant Program for Community Service/Service Learning for the project, "Archival Activities with the Tippecanoe County Historical Association"! During the 1970s and '80s frequent excavations were conducted at Fort Ouiatenon, and photo slides, site maps, and notes stored at the TCHA. Samuel's project will consist of replacing deteriorating slide sleeves, organizing physical artifacts in an improved manner, and digitalizing a large sum of this information so that future research can be done. Congratulations, Samuel!  Samuel Bakeis

10/28/2020  We are proud to announce that Jennifer Lee Johnson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Purdue University, has been selected to participate in one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s leadership programs. These programs connect changemakers across the country—from every profession and field—to learn from and work with one another in creating more just and thriving communities

Specifically, Dr. Johnson was selected for Interdisciplinary Research Leaders. Designed for teams of two researchers and one community leader, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders supports teams for three years as they work with their communities to design and conduct rigorous research to explore critical issues, then apply the findings in real-time to advance health and equity.

As a member of the program’s newest cohort, Dr. Johnson will focus on environmental contamination and community health in Martinsville, Indiana. While this community is exceptional in many ways, it is increasingly reflective of broader regional trends, especially with respect to pervasive exposures to toxic chemicals and rising rates of cancer and poverty. By engaging multiple methodological approaches and a range of community members, the overall goal of Johnson’s project is to improve how information on exposure risk is produced, consumed and put to use to motivate meaningful improvements in health outcomes and health equity in Martinsville and beyond.

To learn more about Interdisciplinary Research Leaders and RWJF’s other leadership programs, and to meet other participants, visit

10/26/2020  Dr. Kali Rubaii was recently interviewed for Voices of the Middle East and North Africa (on KPFA Radio) about her recently published article on the toxic legacy of war in Iraq. You can listen to the entire interview here.

10/23/2020  In a recent article in Frontiers in Political Science, Professor Emeritus Richard Blanton et al consider commonalities in the collapse of the Roman Empire, China's Ming Dynasty, India's Mughal Empire, and the Venetian Republic using Collective Action Theory. These governments "illustrate a moral bond between citizen and leadership that is inherent where there is joint production. Moral failure of the leadership in this social setting brings calamity because the state's lifeblood—its citizen-produced resource-base—is threatened when there is loss of confidence in the state, which brings in its wake social division, strife, flight, and a reduced motivation to comply with tax obligations." The authors were recently interviewed in Phys.Org.

10/21/2020  Recently Dr. Melissa Remis and Dr. Carolyn Jost Robinson (Ph.D. 2012) published an article in the Smithsonian Magazine about their research emphasizing the importance of thinking about the ways in which our lives are bound up with the other species around us, how large mammals have and continue to shape our environment and the need to collaborate with local communities for planning effective conservation policies that take into account local knowledge and lifeways. Click here to read more about their research.

10/16/2020  Dr. Risa Cromer recently published ‘Which Lives Matter? Pro-Life Politics during a Pandemic’ in Medical Anthropology Quarterly’s Critical Issues series focused on the upcoming election. The essay examines what pro-life has come to mean during a pandemic by tracing the racist violence of its rhetoric in American politics.

10/13/2020  Dr. Andrew Flachs is featured in CHE- Center for Culture, History, and Environment. Farmers Living and Dying by Cotton Seeds in India is an excerpt from Dr. Flach's book Cultivating Knowledge, drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with farmers growing genetically modified and organic cotton in Telangana, India.

9/30/2020  In "'Our family picture is a little hint of heaven': race, religion and selective reproduction in US 'embryo adoption'", Dr. Risa Cromer makes a case for how race and religion intersect to shape how white evangelical users of assisted and selective reproduction technologies use them. The article is published in the November 2020 issue of Reproductive Medicine and Society Online, a special issue resulting from a two-year workshop led by Rayna Rapp and Séverine Mathieu. 

9/3/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Stacy Lindshield and the team on their NSF grant for the project, "Collaborative Research: The Ecological Basis of Hunting and Meat Sharing in Female Savanna Chimpanzees"!

Description and team members:  Sexual selection theory and patterns of male-biased hunting and meat-eating for chimpanzees, some of our closest living relatives, have been traditionally integrated with models of human behavioral evolution. However, tool use and female-biased hunting are characteristics of savanna chimpanzees in Senegal. Hunting with tools may enable these females to routinely ingest and share meat on a seasonal basis without the need for being provisioned by males. This project precisely captures the effect of hunting with tools on diet and compares the weight of these findings to the causes and consequences of male-biased trends that characterize most chimpanzee groups studied today. This interdisciplinary study is a part of the HUNTRESS project on HUnting, Nutrition, Tool-use, Reproductive Ecology, and meat Sharing in Savanna chimpanzees to holistically assess female-biased hunting.

The HUNTRESS team combines behavioral, isotopic, nutritional, genetic, visual analytic, and geographic approaches to compare hunting and meat ingestion between females and males, and in relation to climate and food availability. This project increases capacity for chimpanzee research in Senegal by fully engaging with and supporting local partners and students. Furthermore, it is part of a long-term program that supports habitat preservation in Senegal for the critically-endangered western chimpanzee.

Members of this team also include Papa Ibnou Ndiaye (Université Cheikh Anta Diop), Jill Pruetz (Texas State University), Elizabeth Flaherty (Purdue University), Amy Reibman (Purdue University) and Leslie Knapp (University of Utah).

Melissa Remis, photot courtesy of Purdue News ServiceCaroline Jost Robinson, photo courtesy of Caroline Jost

8/31/2020  Elephants, Hunters, and Others: Integrating Biological Anthropology and Multispecies Ethnography in a Conservation Zone, by Melissa Remis and Carolyn A. Jost Robinson (Purdue PhD 2012) is published in the September issue of American Anthropologist.  The article integrates biological, multispecies and sociocultural approaches with a focus on shared ecologies of BaAka elephant hunters, African forest elephants and others along elephant trails in the Congo Basin.  The authors highlight the ways elephants shape forest structure and the fabric of existence for the people that live there.  They explore the consequences of conservation zoning that restricts forest community access to the trails, resources and social networks in order to develop more culturally relevant and collaborative conservation practices.
Above photo left: Melissa Remis, photo provided by Purdue News, Above photo right: Caroline Jost Robinson, photo provided by Caroline. Photo Below: African Forest Elephants. Photo provided by Caroline Jost Robinson.

African Forest Elephants, photo courtesy of Caroline Jost Robinson





8/31/2020  Dr. Andrew Flachs tells the global story of Indian cotton including contributions from researchers based in India, the US, and Europe. This interactive Story Map includes archaeological, historical, and ethnographic elements spanning the origins of cotton farming to the impacts of genetically modified crops to the secondhand clothing industry, and accompanies Flachs' new book Cultivating knowledge: Biotechnology, sustainability, and the human cost of cotton capitalism in India

8/18/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti and Dr. Risa Cromer on their 2020 Enabling Inclusion at Purdue grants! These awards are made to project proposals that further the Butler Center’s goals to foster a climate of inclusion for faculty, particularly for women and underrepresented minorities.

“Next Steps – Environment Justice, Climate Change, and Racial Justice," Laura Zanotti (principal investigator) with C4E, PCCRC, AAARCC, the Honors College, SIS, and the NAECC as Co-PIs.

“Data Promises and Perils in the Time of COVID: Critical Data Studies Teach-Ins and Syllabus Project for Enabling Inclusion at Purdue," Faithe Day (principal investigator) with Risa and the Critical Data Studies Collective (which I am a member of) are Co-PIs

7/31/2020  In pursuit of creativity, Anthropologists are writing in new genres during COVID. Dr. Kali Rubaii is one of the contributors to American Ethnologist's  "Post-Covid Fantasies", edited by Catherine Besteman, Heath Cabot, and Barak Kalir. 

7/13/2020 As part of AAA's 2020 Webinar series on "Game-Changing Job Search Strategies as an Applied Anthropologist - A Four-Part Webinar Series" , Drs. Sherylyn Briller and Amy Goldmacher, along with Elizabeth K. Briody (Cultural Keys LLC) and others participated in "Part 1: Get Hired! Showcase Your Unique Value" on July 9. The information from the webinar should be posted on the AAA website with the Resources and Webinar Recording by midweek, if not sooner.

Purdue graduate students or alumni will be participating in the following:

Part 2: 5 Secrets for Building Networks that Lead to Jobs

Thursday, July 16
1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT
Presenters: Elizabeth K. Briody (Cultural Keys), Ann Reed (Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield), Elizabeth Wirtz (U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Purdue alumna), Beth Holland (University of North Texas) and Keith Kellersohn (Wicomico Co. Board of Education)

Part 3: This Is Not Your Parents' Resume: New Ways to Tell Your Story

Thursday, July 23
1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT
Presenters: Dawn Lehman (Pathways21), Ingrid Ramón Parra (Purdue University), William Tyner (National Geographic), and Adam Gamwell (Missing Link Studios)

If you miss any of these sessions, video will soon be available on the AAA website.

 7/6/2020  Dr. Holly Okonkwo has received the 2020-21 American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, for her book project, "Liberatory Code: Black women and the Politics of Computing". In this project, Dr. Okonkwo ethnographically explores the experiences of Black women technologists in the U.S, their techno-social innovations and how they navigate and negotiate complex issues of race, gender, community and marginalization, to cultivate and imagine liberatory futures for themselves. AAUW Fellows are selected on the basis of scholarly excellence, quality and originality of project design, and active commitment to helping women and girls through service in their communities, professions, or fields of research.

6/22/2020  Congratulations to graduate student Valerie Miller and advisor Dr. Amanda Veile on their recent publication, "Assessment of attention in biological mothers using the attention network test - revised"! The publication, co-authored with Lisa A. VanWormer, appears in Current Psychology. This is the first study to investigate the effects of biological motherhood on attention network functioning.

6/3/2020  Congratulations to Kamryn Dehn (College of Liberal Arts, College of Agriculture, and the Honors College, majoring in anthropology and aquatic sciences) on receiving the 2020 Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award!

"Scholarship recipients embody Tyler’s legacy by rising above hardship, turning it into something positive, and continuing to seek their passions. Dehn made a particular impression on [Mitch] Daniels and the selection committee in the way she used her personal challenges to create positive and lasting change in the lives of those around her." read more here.

5/21/2020  Dr. Erik Otarola-Castillo and graduate student Melissa Torquato’s paper published in the Annual Reviews of Anthropology, titled “Bayesian Statistics in Archaeology”, is featured as a Notable Writing in the latest volume of “The Best Writing on Mathematics 2019”. This annual anthology, published by Princeton University Press, brings together the year’s finest mathematics writing from around the world.

5/20/20 In a recent publication in Cultural Anthropology Dr. Kali Rubaii explores how people find trust to overcome issues during situations of crisis even when they have no knowledge of one another’s motives in TRUST WITHOUT CONFIDENCE: Moving Medicine with Dirty Hands

5/19/2020  Congratulations to Diana Quintero and Kamryn Dehn for the earning 1st place prize for best poster presentation in the College of Liberal Arts at the virtual Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference. Diana and Kamryn presented on "Male vs. Female Representation in Chimpanzee Behavioral Studies" as part of an ongoing study with Dr. Stacy Lindshield on feminist perspectives in primatology.

5/14/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Holly Okonkwo! She has been awarded a 2020 Summer Faculty Grant from the Purdue Research Foundation for her research project titled, "Liberatory Code: Race, Gender and the Politics of Computing"! Funding from this grant support Dr. Okonkwo in completing her current book manuscript.

5/14/2020  Alumna Franco Lai's (PhD 2014) first book, based on her PhD dissertation, is coming out from @hkupress in December 2020! Maid to Queer is the first book about Asian female migrant workers who develop same-sex relationships in a host city. Based on participant observation and in-depth interviews with Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong, the book explores the meanings of same-sex relationships to these migrant women. Congrats, Franco! 

5/11/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Risa Cromer on being awarded a 2020 Summer Faculty Grant from the Purdue Research Foundation for her research project titled, "Ex Utero: Frozen Embryo Politics in the United States"! This funding will support Dr. Cromer in completing her current book manuscript. 

5/7/2020  Purdue Alumnus magazine has a feature article including Dr. Michele Buzon and Dr. Laura Zanotti, who share what it takes to do their field research and why it matters! Read more here.

5/7/2020  Graduate student, Gideon Singer is part of a team at Datastory that has created a GIS Map Layer with their partners Spatial A.I. The map shows social sentiment regarding COVID-19 in each county of the US. Gideon's experience researching social media during his Ph.D. gave him the idea to generate word clouds based on social media data. He was then able to use the Python scripting language to automate a word-cloud that took the shape of each respective county as long as there were 50 or more post in the last week.

4/30/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Zoe Nyssa and Dr. Risa Cromer on a recent publication! Along with collaborator Jessica Hardin, they have recently published a short essay in the _Journal for the Anthropology of North America’s_ ‘Coming to Terms’ series. In it they grapple with "saving"as a practice common to their respective field sites, our discipline, and the world. While written just before the CoVID pandemic was recognized as a global crisis, the authors are noticing that calls to save are ever louder and more regular. Read on.

4/29/2020  Dr. Melanie Beasley's Forensic Anthropology class is featured in this month's CLA THiNK Magazine! This class provides students with a real-world perspective on death investigation and even provides hands-on skeletal activities to experience what a professional forensic anthropologist might analyze in a lab. #AnthOfTomorrow #ForensicAnthro #anth215forensics

4/23/2020  Congratulations to graduate student Jenail Marshall on being awarded a 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship! The NSF GRFP provides 3 years of funding towards her project, "Bioarchaeological investigations of human-microbial interaction in East Africa"

4/19/2020 Congratulations to Amanda Waller who has been awarded The Boilers Work internship. Only 10 graduate students at Purdue receive this stipend internship. This program is intended to help students garner real-world work experience, refine soft-skills, and establish career connections prior to graduation. Upon return, program participants are required to facilitate one professional development workshop to share their experiences and insights.

4/16/2020  Congratulations to Elizabeth Kriebel, who has been accepted to a graduate program in Museum and Field Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder! She has been awarded a GA-ship to work at the campus museum while she pursues studies towards her master's. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

4/16/2020  Congratulations to Sarah Huang on her recent publication! Sarah's chapter, "Food from Home and Food from Here: Disassembling Locality in Local Food Systems with Refugees and Immigrants in Anchorage, Alaska" has been published in the book, The Immigrant-Food Nexus: Borders, Labor, and Identity in North America edited by Julian Agyeman and Sydney Giacalone. A link to the open-access edition is available here

4/14/2020  Emerita Dr. Ellen Gruenbaum just published “Debating Deinfibulation: "Why Some Women Resist the WHO Advice and What Clinicians and Researchers Can Do” in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.   The article draws on not only Dr. Gruenbaum's own research but also the important work being done by other scholars in this area of interest, who are trying to shape a more humane and informed responses to FGC and those who are living with its aftermath.

4/9/2020  Congratulations to Liz Hall and Savannah Schulze on being awarded a Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship! Liz will be writing up her project entitled, "Zoonotic Risks at the Human-Primate Interface: Behavior, Nutritional Status, and Immune Function in a Food Insecure Central African Forest Reserve." Savannah will be writing up her project entitled, "Forest People without a forest: Shifting Batwa Identity on the Fringes of Global Conservation Spaces, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda."

4/8/2020  Graduate student Gideon Singer is working as a GIS Specialist with Datastory. Their team worked together to curate and visualize various COVID-19 resources to make available to the public. Storytelling with maps is a major part of Gideon's work with Datastory. Updated everyday, they have created the Case Tracker WebMap that shows the amount of COVID-19 cases per county.

3/25/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Risa Cromer, who has been selected to participate in the Society for Family Planning Wiki Scholars Program cohort this summer from June-August, 2020. The 2020 SFP Wiki Scholars Program is a partnership between the Society of Family Planning and Wiki Education. Wikipedia is one of the most popular sources of information, including information about abortion and contraception. Building the capacity of family planning researchers to ensure this powerful tool connects the public with up-to-date and accurate information is an exciting opportunity. Through this program, the cohort will become fluent in Wikipedia's tools, adding to already-existing articles, and potentially creating new ones.

2/24/2020  A short piece published by Dr. Jennifer Johnson in the edited volume, An Ecotopian Lexicon, was recently mentioned in a stunning review of the collection as a whole in The New Yorker! The contribution introduces the Luganda interjection, gyebale, thank you for the work you do, a term used as a greeting, a goodbye, or simply as an acknowledgment of the ongoing work of others, exchanged between friends, colleagues, and non-familiars alike. For Hua Hsu, author of the New Yorker review, gyebale also "suggest[s] a kind of communal ethos baked into how two strangers might regard each other.” Congratulations, Dr. Johnson!

1/29/2020  Assistant professor of anthropology Melanie Beasley was invited to serve as an isotope expert at a forensic workshop hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross in South Africa. Thousands of migrants die each year along perilous routes in Africa and beyond, many without identification. The workshop is a collaborative humanitarian effort to help determine how stable isotope methods can be implemented to help identify migrants who die each year. 

1/6/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Dada Docot on her recent publication, "Taking the Long Route: Ethnographic Metacommentary as Method in the Anthropological Film Practice," Current Anthropology 60, no. 6 (December 2019): 774-795. In this article, Dr. Docot introduces “ethnographic metacommentary,” an experiential, processual, and protracted approach to ethnography, and shows how ethnographic metacommentary is a productive thought process that fleshes out ruptures in the filmmaking process that are often concealed from the audience, and even from the filmmakers.

12/12/2019  Laura Zanotti with Presence to Influence team members Dorothy Hogg (Northwestern University) and Emily Colon (University of Maryland) joined thousands in Madrid, Spain, to conduct collaborative event ethnography at the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP25 meetings. Many thanks to the Purdue Climate Change Research Center in providing the credentials.

12/6/2019 Andrew Flachs has been awarded an Enhancing Research in the Humanities and Arts grant for the research project, “The Interactive Story Map of the Cotton Commodity Chain.” This project will combine spatial data with interactive media and first-hand accounts to illuminate the cotton commodity chain through a free, online Story Map. Congratulations, Dr. Flachs!  

12/6/19 Erik Otárola-Castillo has been awarded a Global Synergy Research Grant for Faculty for the research project, “Climate Change Effects on the Migration and Subsistence Patterns of the First South Americans.” This project is a growing collaboration between Dr. Otárola-Castillo, Dr. Amanda Veile, Dr. Francesca Fernandini (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú), and municipal leadership in the province of Cañete in Lima, Peru to shed light on the initial migration patterns of the first human colonizers of the New World. Congratulations, Dr. Otárola-Castillo!

12/5/19 Valerie Miller has been awarded a Global Synergy Research Grant for Students for the research project, “Mothering with Others in Dominica: Effects of Allomaternal Support on Maternal Attention and Stress!" This biocultural project will take place in Dominica and will address the relationships and interactions between mothers' stress, attentiveness, emotional well-being, and social support. It will investigate how allomothering behaviors affect maternal well-being. Results will reveal the ways in which maternal psychology is shaped by biological and sociocultural influences. Congratulations, Valerie!

12/4/2019 Congratulations to Erik Otárola-Castillo on being awarded an Exploratory Research in the Social Sciences grant for his research project, “Were Humans Responsible for the First Mammal Mass Extinctions in North America 13,000 Years Ago?” This project applies quantitative techniques developed by Otárola-Castillo and collaborators to determine whether humans created the marks on the bones of several North American mammoth, mastodon, and other megafauna during hunting and butchery. Results will enhance our understanding of the interactions between humans and Pleistocene age megafauna.

12/4/2019 Congratulations to Andrew Flachs on being awarded an Exploratory Research in the Social Sciences grant for his research project, “Comfort Foods: Biocultural Diversity and Community Resilience in Rural Bosnia.” This project will ask how the rural Bosnian community is adapting agrarian management traditions to support foodways and montane biodiversity as it rebuilds from the 1990s war, adjusts to high unemployment, and grapples with climate change.

12/3/2019 Michele Buzon has been awarded a Global Synergy Research Grant for Faculty for the research project, “Foreign and Indigenous Contributions to the Development of Christianity in Medieval Nubia.”  This project aims to provide new data on the origins of the Christian church in Nubia and the processes of conversion in the local communities via the analysis of markers of geographic identity (strontium isotope analysis) and cultural identity (burial practices and other artifacts). Congratulations, Dr. Buzon!

11/11/2019  Holly Okonkwo studies how race, gender, and place affect the experiences of women scientists and technologists of color. Holly Okonkwo, applied anthropologist has worked with women in both the U.S. and Africa to gain a sense of their place within the science community. Read more about her observations in the CLA THINK magazine.

10/25/2019  Dada Docot, Assistant Professor of Anthropology will be presenting at UCLA, Center for Southeast Asian Studies on Friday, November. Read more here.

10/23/19  Stacy Lindshield is giving a talk entitled "Nutritional Ecology of Savanna Chimpanzees at Fongoli, Senegal" on October 23rd at the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies at Rutgers University. Her presentation is a part of the 3rd Annual Lembersky Conference on Advances in Primate Nutritional Ecology, Health, and Energetics.

10/23/2019  On October 30th, Dr. Otarola-Castillo, Dr. Amanda Veile, and the Cerro de Oro Archaeological Project (PACO) are collaborating with the Universidad Nacional de Cañete, the Provincial Municipality of Cañete, and the District Municipality of San Luis to conduct a community-training event titled “Cerro de Oro - A thousand years of Buried History”. This will be a small symposium where Cañete students will receive training results of the most recent discoveries from Cerro de Oro for interpretation to their communities.

10/22/2019  Andrew Flachs’ book , Cultivating Knowledge: Biotechnology, sustainability, and the human cost of cotton capitalism in India, illuminates the local impact of global changes: the slow, persistent dangers of pesticides, inequalities in rural life, the aspirations of people who grow fibers sent around the world, the place of ecological knowledge in modern agriculture, and even the complex threat of suicide. It all begins with a seed.
Update 1/29/2020 : 
Assistant professor of anthropology Andrew Flachs has received significant notice tied to his book, Cultivating Knowledge: Biotechnology, Sustainability, and the Human Cost of Cotton Capitalism in India (University of Arizona Press, 2019). The book draws on ethnographic fieldwork with farmers growing genetically modified and organic cotton in Telangana, India. Andrew investigated the human responses to global agrarian change, including the dangers of pesticides, inequalities in rural life, the aspirations of people who grow fibers sent around the world, the place of ecological knowledge in modern agriculture, and even the complex threat of suicide. His work has been recognized globally.

10/22/2019  Our new faculty member, Dr. Risa Cromer, has won a Wenner-Gren Foundation Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship to support the writing of her book, Ex Utero: Frozen Embryo Politics in the United States, next year! The Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship is awarded to anthropologists in the earlier stages of their careers to support a new generation of scholars in devoting themselves full-time to writing.This fellowship is part of the Wenner-Gren Foundation’s mission to “support the publication of significant works that promise to make a solid contribution to the field and beyond.”

10/16/2019  Dr. Erik Otarola-Castillo and Dr. Amanda Veile recently met in Cañete, Peru with the municipal leadership of the Cañete province, and Dr. Francesca Fernandini Parodi (PUCP; PI of Cerro de Oro, San Luis), to develop a collaborative archaeology and culture heritage project centered on engagement with community members, their archaeological training, and support for local archaeological education and preservation.

8/26/2019  Congratulations to Michele Buzon for winning a grant from the National Science Foundation! Michele plans to investigate the impact of climate change on the isotopic signature of available strontium during the last ~4,000 years within the Nile River Valley.

8/26/2019   Five proposals out of 25 have been selected for funding in the Education Ecosystem sector of Purdue's Integrative Data Science Initiative. Principal Investigator Nicole Kong, Libraries, School of Information Studies, and her team of investigators are one of the five winning proposals. Ian Lindsay, Associate Professor of Anthropology served as one of the Co investigators for this research. The award is called “Integrating Geospatial Information Across Disciplines” this will be used to develop a GIS graduate certificate in the coming year.

8/22/2019  Michele Buzon started working at the archaeological site Tombos in modern-day Sudan while she was still a graduate student. She and a collaborator, Stuart Tyson Smith from the University of California, Santa Barbara, have been excavating the Nubian site since 2000. Read more and watch a video featuring her work in the Nile River Valley here.

8/22/19  Evelyn Blackwood, professor Emeritus published an article in the Washington Post. This piece draws on her upcoming book, “Dreams of a New World: Bay Area Lesbian Histories” 

8/6/2019 - PhD Candidate Katie Whitmoreand Professor Michele Buzon have recently published an article in the International Journal of Paleopathology  that focuses two individuals from the archaeological site of Tombos who lived with a form of dwarfism.

7/26/2019 - We’re excited to introduce six new Concentrations in several specialty areas within the Anthropology major! See the Undergraduate Studies page for more details.

7/26/2019 - Congratulations to Alison Kirkham (MS 2018) who has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 College of Liberal Arts Master’s Non-Thesis Award for her project titled, “That’s Disgusting: Perceptions of Arthropods and the Categorization of Insects as (In)edible in the United States.” The award recognizes individuals whose work reflects distinguished scholarship and research at the master’s level.

Alison is currently the Head of Marketing and Research with the Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch in Denver, Colorado.This small start-up farms and processes insects for human consumption both locally and at an international level. Alison assesses customer perceptions, needs, and purchasing habits, as well as helps the farming aspect become more efficient.

7/11/2019 - Congratulations to Dr. H. Kory Cooper, Matthew Pike, and Garett Hunt on their recent publication in the Journal of Archaeological Science. In "Defining a ‘reasonable geographic framework’: Path Distance as native copper provenance in the Arctic, Subarctic, and Northwest Coast"

7/03/2019 - The Zanotti lab welcomes Eduardo Rafael Galvão, Maria Gabriela Fink Salgado, Pat-i Kayapó, and Laura Torrejano as visiting scholars this fall semester. A special thanks to the Honors College for inviting Pat-i to be a scholar in residence. They will be working on projects in Colombia and Brazil on socioenvironmental impacts of artisinal mining, community-led art and media initiatives, and sustainable solar in low electricity environments. We welcome them to the department!

4/17/2019 - Purdue Anthropology alumni, Dr. Sarah Schrader has just published a book based in part on her dissertation. Activity, Diet and Social Practice: Addressing Everyday Life in Human Skeletal Remains

3/21/19 – "Amanda Veile, an assistant professor of anthropology at Purdue University, and her team report that indigenous mothers in farming communities in Yucatán, Mexico, breastfeed for about 1.5 months longer following cesarean deliveries than they do following vaginal deliveries. Veile believes this is possible because the mothers live in an exceptionally supportive breastfeeding environment."

3/19/2019 - Congratulations to Laura Zanotti and colleagues on facilitating Purdue to receive a Sigrid Rausing Trust Foundation Grant. This work will support workshops with indigenous leaders in the Brazilian Amazon and travel to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP25 in Santiago, Chile.

2/28/2019 - Dr. Andrew Flachs studies the roots of anxiety and aspiration in Indian farmer's GM seed choices in a new paper with American Anthropologist and Purdue Today.

2/14/2019 - Congratulations to Isabelle Orttwho has been selected as the recipient of the O Michael Watson Outstanding Senior Award! She is completing an Honors thesis on skeletal remains with Dr. Michele Buzon.

2/14/2019 – Congratulations to Baylee Bunce for becoming a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Semi-finalist. Baylee graduated with honors in our Anthropology class of 2018. 

2/12/2019 – Dr. Andrew Flachs work is featured in American Anthropologist. Planting and Performing: Anxiety, Aspiration, and “Scripts” in Telangana Cotton Farming

2/12/20109 - Dr. Amanda Veile has co-authored a new paper in the "American Journal of Human Biology," which examines rising cesarean birth rates, and their relation to childhood infectious disease, in a South American indigenous population, the Argentine Qom.
"Birth mode and infectious morbidity risks in Qom children of Argentina"

2/12/2019 - Dr. Amanda Veile authored a new paper in the "American Journal of Human Biology" with Sydney Tuller, a second-year master's degree student in Anthropology. The article examines the relationships between rising cesarean birth rates, prolonged breastfeeding practices and childhood infectious disease in indigenous Mexican subsistence farmers, the Yucatec Maya. 
"Birth mode, breastfeeding and childhood infectious morbidity in the Yucatec Maya” 

2/12/2019 - Dr. Amanda Veile authored a new article in the "Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science” with Valerie Miller, a PhD student in Anthropology. The article summarizes theoretical literature on breastfeeding practices throughout human evolutionary history.
"Duration of Breast Feeding in Ancestral Environments"

1/18/2019 - Andrew Flachs spoke to Earth Eats Radio about his research into fermentation and the microbiome as part of a talk at the Indiana University Food Institute. 

1/14/2019- Congratulations to Laura Zanotti, she has been appointed to be the new Associate Director of the Center for the Environment.  We are so pleased that Laura’s longstanding leadership in the Center and her talents are being recognized with this appointment that will also permit her to continue her research, teaching, and other departmental engagements.  We look forward to new opportunities for us to be involved as C4E continues to build out its vision, programs and supports for interdisciplinary participation in convergence research on environmental and sustainability issues.

1/7/2019- Zoe Nyssa's research on environmental and climate change discourses is reported in the LA Review of books. You can read the review here. 

12/18/2018-The Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships featured Dr. Ian Lindsay for his research using drone technology in their Dimensions of Discovery announcements. You can read about his work here.

12/5/2018- Congratulations to  Michele Buzon who was awarded a 2018-19 Exploratory Social Sciences Research Grant for her project “Pluralistic Identities in "Nubia: A Bioarchaeological Examination of Entanglements at Post-Colonial Tombos".

12/5/2018- Congratulations to Amanda Veile who was awarded a 2018-19 Global Synergy Research for Faculty grant for her research project entitled, “Urbanization, Migration and Indigenous Health in Peru”. 

12/5/2018- Purdue Today reports on Andrew Flach's research, Young hip farmers: Coming to a city near you including his research in the journal Rural Society.

11/7/18- Andrew Flachs uses tools from GIS and ethnography to map the last two decades of small and alternative agriculture across the United States in the journal Rural Sociology.

11/7/2018- New research from Andrew Flachs explains why the same Indian farmers end up making very different decisions about GM cotton, conventional rice, and heirloom vegetables seeds in the Journal of Agrarian Change.

11/05/2018 - Laura Zanotti is giving a talk entitled “Indigenous Rights in the Anthropocene” on November 7th at Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. This event is co-sponsored by the Native American Studies Program, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of History, Environmental Studies Program, and Africana & Latin American Studies Program.

10/25/2018 - On October 26, 2018, Ellen Gruenbaum presents the keynote lecture on “Tensions and Movements: Female Genital Cutting in the Global North and South, Then and Now” for the 9th FOKO Conference in Åkerberg, Höör, Sweden. FOKO is a regular conference of Nordic researchers who work on the topic of FGC, and this year it is sponsored by the Centre for Sexology and Sexuality Studies at Malmö University and the Forum for Africa Studies at Uppsala University. Following the conference, Gruenbaum presents a lecture at Uppsala University on “What Can Medical Anthropology Contribute to the Field of Global Reproductive Health?” for the International Maternal and Child Health program at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, in collaboration with the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare.

10/25/2018- Stacy Lindshield and her collaborators received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Ape Conservation Fund to investigate novel pathways for mercury bioaccumulation in Senegalese chimpanzees. This transdisciplinary and applied research project aims to understand how the mercury released from gold mining moves through savanna ecosystems and potentially impacts critically-endangered chimpanzees living near mining communities. Dr. Lindshield works with colleagues from Ball State University, North Dakota State University, USDA Forest Service, Université Chiekh Anta Diop, and the University of Minnesota.

10/18/2018 - Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti for receiving the Purdue University Faculty Scholar Award! This award recognizes faculty members “who are on an accelerated path for academic distinction." Dr. Zanotti was selected for her high profile work as an environmental anthropologist and interdisciplinary social scientist.

10/16/2018 - PhD student, Melissa Torquato (Otarola-Castillo) won the 2018 College of Liberal Arts Master's Thesis Award (non-thesis). Her Master’s project, titled “Why do we farm?: A comparative assessment of the foraging-farming transition”, examined the effects of climate on food security & risk management during the prehistoric foraging-farming transition in the North American Midwest.

10/15/2018 - To celebrate our 10 years as an independent department on campus, we hosted two days of enriching and thought-provoking conversation, collaboration, and connection. Since our department's beginnings in 2008, we have made great leaps to encourage deeper thinking about a variety of topics related to the human experience. To celebrate this milestone we hosted a symposium to enhance and continue these conversations, with presentations from our graduate students, thoughtful discussion surrounding the future of the discipline and the department, and a keynote by Nina Jablonski. 

10/9/2018 - Andrew Flachs recently published an article that explores how we measure the impact of Genetically Modified crops in India in the journal Science & Technology Studies. 

9/27/2018 Graduate student Sarah Huang recently presented her research titled "Amidst Rice Production: Conversations in Farmers' Food Security in An Giang Province, Vietnam" at An Giang University's The International Workshop on Water Governance, Climate Change and Food Security in Minority Communities, Vietnam.

9/27/2018 Dr. Stacy Lindshield recently chaired the special symposium “Understanding Savanna Chimpanzees” at the International Primatological Society Biannual Congress on August 20, 2018 held at the United Nations Office of Nairobi, Kenya.

9/25/2018- Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti on being recently named a University Faculty Scholar. The University Faculty Scholars Program recognizes outstanding faculty members at the West Lafayette campus who are on an accelerated path for academic distinction. Eligible faculty must hold the rank of tenured associate or full professor and have been in that rank for no more than five years.

9/20/2018 Isabelle Ortt has been awarded the Office of Undergraduate Research Scholarship for 2018-19.  She will work with Dr. Michele Buzon on the demographic and paleopathological analysis of people buried in a tomb at Tombos.

7/18/2018 Dr. Laura Zanotti recently shared what tools she carries in the field in a recent issue of Anthropology News titled "What's in Your Bag, Anthropologists?"

7/12/2018 Dr. Melissa Remis' research on the variation in gorilla foraging ecology and its implications for understanding the evolution of primate diets was recently highlighted in the July issue of Scientific American titled "The Real Paleo Diet".

4/26/18   Dr. Jennifer Johnson presented at the Rachel Carson Center for the Environment and Society in München, Germany.  Dr. Johnson received a Carson Writing Fellowship and was invited to present at the Rachel Carsen Center on April 19, 2018.

4/24/2018  Amanda Veile and collaborator Karen Rosenberg organized a symposium "The Evolutionary Causes and Consequences of Rising Cesarean Birth Rates," at the 2018 American Association of Physical Anthropologists Meeting (April 14 in Austin). The symposium drew together anthropologists, biologists, and practitioners who study cesarean birth using evolutionary and biocultural theoretical approaches. The symposium will now be converted to a special issue of the American Journal of Human Biology, with Drs Veile and Rosenberg as guest editors.

3/21/2018 - Melissa Remis and Amanda Veile received grants totaling $17,000 from the Purdue University Laboratory and University Core Facility Research Equipment Program! The funds will be used to purchase equipment that will expand the research and training capacities of our Bioanthropology laboratories.

3/19/2018 - Dr. Ian Lindsay has been awarded two internal equipment grants from Purdue’s Office of the Executive Vice-President for Research and Partnerships to update and expand his use of magnetometry and drone-based aerial thermal imaging of Bronze Age sites as part of his archaeological research in Armenia.

3/19/2018 - Research led by Dr. Erik Otárola-Castillo hopes to further understand early hominids' life with the use of statistics. Read more about his research in this article from The Exponent.

3/7/2018 - Dr. Ian Lindsay is featured in the annual report publication from the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships. The article discusses his research using drone technology in order to capture data from Bronze Age sites in Armenia, archaeological evidence that Nubians and Egyptians integrated into a community, and even married, in ancient Sudan. Read about his research here.

1/16/2018 - Dr. Erik Otárola-Castillo was invited to the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire to present his work on “The Effects of Climate Change on the Diet of Great Plains Paleoindians” in their lecture series on Environmental Archaeology on January 18th at 12:30 PM.


Congratulations to the following students who received the Department of Anthropology's top honors for academic achievement and service, the O. Michael Watson Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior. The Award is named in honor of our legendary professor, Dr. O. Michael Watson (1936-2012), whose dynamic undergraduate courses excited decades of anthropology students. Each year, the student selected goes on to be nominated for consideration for the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Student Award.

2019 Isabelle Ortt
2018 Bridget Curry 
2017  Kate Yeater
2016  Jonathan Micon
2015 Michael Lockman
2014 Katelyn Revis
2013 Alisha Yadav
2012 Donald Pattee
2010 Monya Anderson
2009 Marcus Glassman
2008 Sarah Kinder
2007 David Fitzsimmons


Walter Hirsch was a Purdue faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology from 1947 until his retirement in 1989, who specialized in social movements and the sociology of science. His family and friends established this award in his memory in recognition of his long-time interest in and support of graduate students. Each year, the award provides approximately $1,000 to help with the costs of dissertation research for one doctoral candidate in Anthropology and one in Sociology.

2015 Ingrid Ramon Parra
2014 Jonas Ecke
2013 Elizabeth Wirtz
2012 Sarah Schrader
2011 Franco Lai
2010 Katie Smith
2009 Lesley Daspit

Remembering Those That Went Before

O.M Watson  

O. Michael Watson (1936-2012)

Dr. Watson was born in 1936 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Colorado.  After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he studied anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and earned a BA and Ph.D.   In 1967 joined the Purdue University faculty as one of the founders of the Anthropology Department.  Professor Watson’s early research focused on proxemic analysis, which he published in Proxemic Behavior: A Cross-Cultural Study (Mouton, 1970). He subsequently turned to visual anthropology, which led to a number of publications and graduate seminars, as well as his production of the classic film Spirit of Ethnography. Professor Watson was one of the founders of anthropology at Purdue, and he devoted his career to the growth of the discipline and to the department.  A renowned teacher and beloved professor, he won numerous teaching awards during his 40 years at Purdue.  Generations of students took his love of anthropology and enthusiasm for human cultural diversity along with them as they pursued their many directions.  Known for his energy and amazing ability to find humor everywhere, he is remembered for the joy and laughter he brought to so many lives.  When Professor Watson retired in 2007, the Department of Anthropology honored him by naming our annual student award after him. 

Jay O'Brien 

Jay O’Brien (1947-2013)
Jay O’Brien was born in New Jersey, in 1947 and grew up in California.  He came of age influenced by the music, activism, natural beauty, and the social concerns of 1960s California.  After being an exchange student in Sweden when he was 17 and doing a study abroad in Germany, he was inspired to become an anthropologist.  He studied anthropology at Stanford University and the University of Connecticut (Ph.D. 1980).
Professor O’Brien studied the long-term effects of colonial regimes in Africa, and wrote his master’s thesis on Portuguese empire in Africa, 1415-1961. Subsequently, he spent 5 years in Sudan, researching agricultural labor and development, using political economy and ethnography to understand family dynamics, ethnic identification shifts, and development dilemmas in Sudan.  Among his publications were three books—on political economy and development in Sudan, and on the intersection of history and anthropology. 
His career was about social justice and the process of change, analyzing the conditions of poverty, the dilemmas of development, and their impacts on human cultural life.  He became deeply engaged in teaching, achieving tenure at Lawrence University and teaching at a dozen other universities in Sudan, Sweden, Botswana, and the U.S.  He came to Purdue in 2008 with his life partner, Ellen Gruenbaum, to be part of the newly launched independent Department of Anthropology. 




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